A new era of NCAA athletics has arrived after athletes received the green light earlier in the summer to profit off their Name, Image and Likeness, and Nick Saban isn’t oblivious to the challenges that could be on the horizon as teams navigate uncharted waters. In a recent, wide-ranging Q&A with ESPN, Saban was asked about the impact of NIL in the locker room after he previously hinted in July that quarterback Bryce Young had already netted nearly $1 million in endorsement, and he didn’t hesitate to voice concerns about equality — or lack thereof — in the Crimson Tide locker room.
“I don’t think anybody else is making significant money, but the players that have a name are making something,” Saban recently told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “[Equality in the locker room] is my biggest concern. I haven’t heard any [complaints] so far. I told our players, ‘When you play in the NFL, everybody doesn’t make the same.’
“Everything in college has always been the same. That’s not going to be the case anymore. Some positions and some players are going to have more opportunities than others, but there’s no sense in being envious about that. You have to create the most value you can for yourself. I don’t know how it’s going to affect people.”
In regards to the situation at quarterback, Young assumes the reins of the most important position on the field this season for the defending national champions, and his star power has a chance to be considerably lucrative for the former five-star prospect. In late July, Alabama coach Nick Saban revealed that one of his players has been offered a substantial name, image and likeness deal, though he did not specify the player by name.
“Our quarterback has already approached ungodly numbers, and he hasn’t even played yet,” Saban said, via 247Sports’ Chris Hummer. “If I told you what it is … it’s almost seven figures.”
Saban did not mention Young by name, but he is expected to be Alabama’s starter this season and is one of the Heisman frontrunners according to oddsmakers. Young played sparingly last season behind first-team All-American and Heisman finalist Mac Jones, but his talent was noticeable.
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Young is not the only NCAA athlete to sign a lucrative NIL deal(s) since the new policies went into effect. On Tuesday, it was reported that Georgia quarterback JT Daniels had reached a trading card deal that could earn him up to seven figures when accounting for royalties. In the world of college basketball, it was announced in July that incoming Tennessee State freshman Hercy Miller, the son of Master P, had inked an NIL deal worth $2 million.
Brad Crawford contributed to this report.